Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zoltan Rubin - January 12, 1983

Joining the Partisans

All right, you joined the partisans.

I joined them. We went down to, to the mountains. Then when the Germans surrounded Banská Bystrica, which is in Slovakia, certainly we were pushed up to the mountains, the hills.

Was there any fighting that you saw?

Very little action but we seen it. I was once or twice in action, I probably, I hoped, I hoped I killed some. Which means, which is satis...I don't know satisfactory. This time, this time it, it felt good, this time, that I was fighting whether uh, uh, uh, it's uh, whether the result is, the result was, anyway, there was no result in it, which would save anybody from the family or anybody, I mean. But, at that time it felt good that you are fighting, you are doing, you are fighting a cause, that you are doing something, what you felt, it's, it's the right thing to do. So then, October 29th, 28th uh, in a group of a hundred and...a hundred soldiers, the Germans surrounded us in the mountains. It was very cold. And uh, they captured us. So, they captured quite a few partisans with us, partisans and Slovak uprisers. There's a difference between a partisan and a soldier. In our...a soldier was considered protected by the Red Cross agreement, a partisan was consid...not protected. So, when they captured, they lined us up and they...Everybody who had uh, paper uh, a identification card from the army was put on one side. Who didn't have identification card was automatically considered as a partisan and they eliminated them right away. Among the uh, among them, there were three, three French parachutists and uh, when, when they come to me and I show them the paper and he says, without, without nothing, I was in the uniform, I have the paper, the Gentile paper, he tells me, "Jude." He looked at me and he says, "Jude." Without any...And he put me aside with the, with the, with a French paratrooper, him, me and one more. But, it was the first time, when I came to, when I came to the point that I said, "Is this it?" And they separated us and we were walking. One thing, we were walking in between, in the valleys, towards a, towards the city. And on both sides of the mountains, they were full of partisans, yes, and the Germans were pretty much afraid of the partisans, at this point. And as we were walking, SS on both sides, we were walking a couple of SS up front, three French guys, two Slovaks, that's me and another one, and then again SS, and then about a hundred or 200 people, 200 regular soldiers. As I am walking like this, and I says, "This is it?" This is, this is why, why I was carrying my socks, the protective socks, what I had from my mother, should she rest in peace. And I said this can't be. So, as we are walking, I...The Germans didn't have enough cigarettes, and we were, we had plenty supplies. I didn't smoke and I open a box of cigarettes and it was already dawn, between, around, in between, the sun is down, it's starting to get dark and I offered the one, the guys in front of me a cigarette, the two Germans. In back of me, not in front of me. In back of me, and as they see the cigarettes, they both grabbed, and all I did, stepped back one step, instead of the first line, I'm in the second line. As we got to Turčiansky Svätý Martin marching, the four guys were taken away and they were shot and I was, I remained. I just went back and mixed myself among the other uh, soldiers and absolutely it was, and this was the first time that I said to myself, somebody's with me, somebody wants me to stay alive. And so then, when we were in Svätý Martin, a guy comes to me--I was sitting in the barracks before we were transferred to Germany--and uh, comes to me that guy, the shoemaker from, from our village and he was so happy to see me, that he comes and says, "Hello, hello Mr. Rubin." And I said to him, "I'm sorry, I'm not Mr. Rubin," okay. And we...This, this was a short scene, just a very short scene, and then we got into Lamsdorf in Germany, Silesia Lamsdorf and there we were quite a while and it was there I had another, the second time when a guy, when I was uh, close, close together involved, a guy comes to me and he says to me, "Santo, I want your bread and I want your sugar." I says, "You want my bread and you want my sugar, for what?" He says, "I know something on you that if I tell the Germans, you are not going to live another day." And this guy was a Moravian partisan. He was Moravian but he joined up, so he was in the army. He heard, he overhead when this guy, when this, this shoemaker called me Mr. Rubin. So, he knew that I'm under false papers. I says to him, "You know what, if you know something, you go ahead and go tell the Germans," and this saved me. The guy didn't go. Because I was, because I, because I was so arrogant, I, I told him "Go," so he didn't go.

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